Two Sundays ago, SLO Farm had some lovely pie pumpkins on sale. My daughter chose the largest one she could find, which I ended up hauling home. Then we had a family debate about what to do with the pumpkin. My daughter advocated keeping it indefinitely as a cherished family member, my 2 year old son demanded "pumpkin pie!", but I wanted to try out a pumpkin soup recipe from The Greens Cookbook that my friend Judith claims she subsists on all winter long. With the promise of more pumpkin purchases, I swayed the crowd toward my agenda. Cooking the soup proved to be the perfect pre-Halloween activity. We got to (in my son's words) "scoop the goop!"
Then, like a coven of witches, we went foraging for herbs
which we stirred into a bubbling cauldron of pumpkin stock.
Meanwhile, the roasting pumpkin filling the house with delicious, earthy smells. The soup itself came together quickly: I sauteed the onion in butter, simmered the pumpkin flesh with the strained stock, pureed it with an immersion blender, and then finished it off with a cup each of grated gruyere cheese and cream. The end result was rich and flavorful, and made a filling meal along with fresh cucumber sandwiches on Eugene City Bakery bread. Perfect sustenance for witches, goblins, and ghouls.
Pumpkin Soup with Gruyere Cheese
adapted from The Greens Cookbook
Seeds and pumpkin goop
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk and some leaves, chopped
several springs sage, thyme, and chives
1/2 tsp salt
8 cups cold water
Simmer for about 25 minutes and strain.
1 scooped out pumpkin, halved
2 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, diced
6-8 cups stock
salt and pepper to taste
~3 ounces gruyere cheese, grated
1 cup light cream
sage leaves for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roast the pumpkin halves, face down on a baking sheet with a lip to catch the juices, until soft (about 1 hour). When cooled, scrape the flesh from the skin. If there are caramelized juices in the pan, soak these off with some strained stock, and add to the soup.
2. In a large soup pot, saute the onions in butter until soft. Add 6 cups of the stock and the roasted pumpkin and simmer for about 20 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender. Add more stock if the soup is too thick and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in gruyere and when it has melted, add the cream. Serve garnished with sage leaves.